Journal List > Kosin Med J > v.29(2) > 1057017

Kosin Med J. 2014 Dec;29(2):107-116. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2014.
Copyright © 2014 Kosin University College of Medicine
Increased carotid atherosclerosis and carotid artery stiffness according to the disease duration and activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus
Gi Sup Byun,1 Ji Hyun Lee,1 Kyoung Im Cho,2 Hong Jik Lee,1 Hyun Jung Yeo,1 Min Jeong Kim,1 and Ho Joon Im1
1Department of Internal Medicine, Maryknoll Medical Center, Busan, Korea.
2Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Kosin University, Gospel Hospital, Busan, Korea.

Corresponding Author: Kyoung Im Cho, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Kosin University, 262, Kamcheon-ro, Seo-gu, Busan, 602-702, Korea. TEL: +82-51-990-6990, FAX: +82-51-990-3049, Email:
Received April 09, 2013; Revised July 19, 2013; Accepted September 11, 2013.



The link among carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), vascular elastic property and the disease activity of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is not well defined. We investigated the association between carotid atherosclerosis, elastic properties of the carotid arterial wall and clinical parameters of SLE.


Fifty-one SLE patients and fifty healthy controls were included. Peak systolic global circumferential and posterior radial strains of carotid artery were measured to assess the elastic properties. Beta stiffness index was used as conventional method for the distensibility of the carotid artery. Information concerning SLE duration, cumulative dose of steroids and/or immunosuppressive drug intake was recorded, and SLE activity was assessed by SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) score.


Carotid plaques were more common in SLE patients. SLE patients with plaques were older and showed the increased mean IMT, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs CRP), IgG anti-cardiolipin antibody (aCL), and longer disease duration compared with those without plaques. Peak systolic global circumferential and posterior radial strain as well β stiffness index were significantly lower in SLE group. Age, disease duration, hsCRP, IgG aCL showed significant correlations with mean IMT and parameters of carotid elastic property (all P's<0.05).


Carotid atherosclerosis was more common in SLE patients, and carotid arterial stiffness had significant correlation with disease duration, hsCRP and IgG aCL level. Speckle tracking strain imaging is a comparative method for the assessment of elastic properties of carotid artery of SLE patients.

Keywords: Carotid atherosclerosis; Strain; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Ultrasonography


Figure 1
An automated tracking algorithm outlined the intima-media complex of common carotid artery (a). Systolic and diastolic diameters of common carotid artery were obtained from short axis view (b). Regions of interest with computation area of 1×1 mm were placed in the intima-media complex from the short axis view of the common carotid artery (c and d). Peak systolic global circumferential strain (c) and posterior radial strain (d) and during systole were used for the analysis.
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Table 1
Clinical characteristics and parameters of the carotid artery of the study population
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Table 2
Characteristics of SLE patients with and without carotid arterial plaque
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Table 3
Correlation coefficients between the parameters of carotid artery and clinical parameters of SLE group (n=51)
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Table 4
Multiple linear regression analysis of mean IMT and parameters of arterial stiffness of common carotid artery in SLE groups
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